punish

verb
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \
punished; punishing; punishes

Definition of punish

transitive verb

1a : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
b : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation
2a : to deal with roughly or harshly
b : to inflict injury on : hurt

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from punish

punishability \ ˌpə-​nish-​ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce punishability (audio) \ noun
punishable \ ˈpə-​nish-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce punishable (audio) \ adjective
punisher noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for punish

Synonyms

castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, discipline, penalize

Antonyms

excuse, pardon, spare

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for punish

punish, chastise, castigate, chasten, discipline, correct mean to inflict a penalty on in requital for wrongdoing. punish implies subjecting to a penalty for wrongdoing. punished for stealing chastise may apply to either the infliction of corporal punishment or to verbal censure or denunciation. chastised his son for neglecting his studies castigate usually implies a severe, typically public censure. an editorial castigating the entire city council chasten suggests any affliction or trial that leaves one humbled or subdued. chastened by a landslide election defeat discipline implies a punishing or chastening in order to bring under control. parents must discipline their children correct implies punishing aimed at reforming an offender. the function of prison is to correct the wrongdoer

punish and discipline mean to put a penalty on someone for doing wrong. punish means giving some kind of pain or suffering to the wrongdoer often rather than trying to reform the person. The criminals were punished with life imprisonment. discipline is used of punishing the wrongdoer but usually includes an effort to bring the person under control. Parents must discipline their children.

Examples of punish in a Sentence

I think that murderers should be punished by life imprisonment. She was punished for lying. His parents punished him by taking away his allowance. How should I punish my child's misbehavior? State law punishes fraud with fines.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Ghasemi said some suspects were arrested and Iran has asked the French government to prosecute and punish them, IRNA reported. Fox News, "Iranian Embassy in Paris damaged; Tehran knocks police work," 15 Sep. 2018 Kaepernick became a free agent after the season, and his inability to find a new club willing to sign him led to accusations that the owners were punishing him because of his political views. Ken Belson, New York Times, "N.F.L. Players Association Files Grievance Over Anthem Policy," 10 July 2018 But most didn't want their full names published for fear their employers would punish them. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "Migrant workers got World Cup started and have kept it going," 9 July 2018 Sanford has been one of the few members to criticize the president, and GOP primary voters punished him for it, handing him his first electoral defeat. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "Primary takeaways: Women keep winning and a Trump tweet can be fatal," 13 June 2018 The ruling could have a ripple effect in ongoing sanctuary city litigation around the country, where a number of cities and states have sued over administration efforts to punish them. Tal Kopan, CNN, "Judge slaps Sessions, feds over 'sanctuary cities'," 6 June 2018 When parents of marginalized, poor students try to navigate around the harsh rules and requirements, they are often investigated, tried, and punished with strict prejudice. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Access to Education for Black Children Proves Difficult for Their Parents, Creating a Disadvantage," 13 Mar. 2019 Before you embark on a period of punishing deprivation, consider a former patient of mine who lost more than 10 pounds after going on a green-juice diet for the first two weeks of January. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet," 19 Dec. 2018 And the ministers asked the United States to refrain from punishing firms in certain commercial sectors, including energy, auto manufacturing, aviation, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals. NBC News, "U.S. refuses European requests for exemptions from its new sanctions on Iran," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of punish

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for punish

Middle English punisshen, from Anglo-French puniss-, stem of punir, from Latin punire, from poena penalty — more at pain

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about punish

Dictionary Entries near punish

punie

punies

Puning

punish

punishableness

punishment

punition

Statistics for punish

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punish

The first known use of punish was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for punish

punish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of punish

: to make (someone) suffer for a crime or for bad behavior
: to make someone suffer for (a crime or bad behavior)
: to treat (someone or something) severely or roughly

punish

verb
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \
punished; punishing

Kids Definition of punish

1 : to make suffer for a fault or crime The child was punished for lying.
2 : to make someone suffer for (as a crime) The law punishes theft.
pun·​ish | \ ˈpə-nish How to pronounce punish (audio) \

Legal Definition of punish

1 : to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation
2 : to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense) in retribution or retaliation or as a deterrent

intransitive verb

: to inflict punishment

Other Words from punish

punishability \ ˌpə-​ni-​shə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce punishability (audio) \ noun
punishable \ ˈpə-​ni-​shə-​bəl How to pronounce punishable (audio) \ adjective
punisher noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on punish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with punish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for punish

Spanish Central: Translation of punish

Nglish: Translation of punish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on punish

What made you want to look up punish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!